Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346463

Research Project: Developing Safe, Efficient and Environmentally Sound Management Practices for the Use of Animal Manure

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: Particles, particles everywhere: What is in the air we breathe?

item PURVIS-ROBERTS, KATHLEEN - Claremont Colleges
item COCKER, DAVID - University Of California
item Silva, Philip - Phil

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2017
Publication Date: 6/20/2017
Citation: Purvis-Roberts, K., Cocker, D.R., Silva, P.J. 2017. Particles, particles everywhere: What is in the air we breathe?. Meeting Abstract. Paper No. 8.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Particulate matter (PM) air pollution consists of extremely small particles, some so small that they can directly enter the bloodstream through the lungs. PM is of prime concern from both health and environmental perspectives. Current research is focused on understanding how PM forms in the atmosphere from various pollution sources and how to better control it. This talk focuses on two sources of PM: agricultural emissions and nuclear testing. Agriculture is a primary source of air pollution in many areas, including California’s Central Valley and Salt Lake City area. Ammonia and amine gases are emitted into the atmosphere from animal husbandry operations, but the mechanism for how these gases react in the atmosphere to form particles is poorly understood. Field studies were done on a dairy in the central valley of California and a poultry farm in Bowling Green, KY, followed by more theoretical studies in an environmental chamber. This has enabled a better understanding of how the PM forms from agricultural emissions and provides insights for controlling their formation. Radioactive particles form during the detonation of nuclear weapons and can present potential exposure pathways to people living nearby. Radioactive particles can be picked up in the wind and form a particularly dangerous form of PM air pollution. A field study was done on the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan, where above ground nuclear tests were done between 1949-1962, to understand potential human exposure from blowing dust.